Life Cycle Assessment. Tomato ketchup. Introduction.
In the industrialised world, there is an increasing awareness that the present food consumption patterns are far from sustainable. To reduce the negative environmental effects caused by the production and consumption of foods, and to avoid sub-optimizations, systems analysis studies are needed.
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) which is a method for analysis and assessment of the environmental impacts caused by product systems, is a valuable tool for such studies.
The purpose of an LCA study can be to compare alternative products, alternative life cycles for a given product, or the relative importance of different life cycle steps.
In its present state, the LCA method can offer guidance to industry and authorities in decision-making; it also furthers education.
Examples of food products that have been studied using LCA are wheat, tomatoes, bread, ham, pork and lamb, apples, beer and tomato ketchup.
to illustrate how LCA can be used by the food industry in production development;
to investigate the influence of the geographical location of certain processes;
To find ways to improve the product's environmental perfomance.LCA of tomato ketchup
consideration are primary energy use, global warming,
acidfication, eutrophication, photooxidant formation and
The generation of radio- active waste.
The study was carried out in close co- operation with a
Swedish producer of tomato ketchup, and an Italian
producer of tomato paste, which made it possible
to obtain much useful site-specfic data.Scope definition
Briefly, the tomato paste (28-30 Bx = 31% dry matter) is
produced in the Mediterranean countries, in the areas
where the tomatoes are cultivated.
The tomato paste is packed in aseptic bags, placed in 200L
capacity steel barrels, and transported by ship and lorry to
Sweden where it is further processed (together with other
ingredients and water) into ketchup. The ketchup is
packed in plastic bottles made of polypropylene (PP)
with a barrier layer of ethylenevinylalcohol (EVOH);
each bottle contains 1 kg of ketchup.
Based on the experience gained while working with the
screening LCA six alternative product systems (including
processing, packaging and transportation) were
Basically, inventory analysis means perfoming material and
energy balances for the systems studied.
Producers (tomato paste, ketchup, raw sugar etc.)
data was used.
An impact assessment was carried out according to the
Nordic Guidelines on LCA for the categories global
warming, acidification, eutrophication and photooxidant
The contribution to the different environmental impacts were quantified with weighting factors; for each environmental effect, different sets were applied in order to test the results.
LCA is very valuable for incorporating environmental
aspects in the development of more sustainable food
Of the systems studied, the A2 and D3 systems show the
best potential for improvement.
Experience gained from the case study shows that perhaps
even more important than the final LCA results and
conclusions are the knowledge and the understanding of
the system aquired.